Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”
While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus. (John 7:25-32)
Shakespeare’s Hamlet told his friend, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” The Pharisees thought they knew precisely how the Messiah would act and just what he would do, despite the fact that they hadn’t even worked out how to reconcile all the prophesies about him.
One of the unsolved questions about the Messiah related to his origins. Some taught that the Messiah’s origins were “of old,” like those of Melchizedek, the king of Salem who had met Abraham and accepted his tithe: unknown and unknowable. Others believed, like those who had advised Herod at the birth of Jesus, that the Messiah’s point of origin was clear. He would come from Bethlehem. Jesus responded that he had come from God. That was how he could be both “of old” and be born in Bethlehem.
Meanwhile, the people continued to wonder if perhaps Jesus actually was the Messiah, despite the problems their leadership had with him. Even with the questions of his origins, there were still his miracles to contend with. Certainly Jesus was different from any other human being they’d ever known. Jesus remains the same today as he was then: different from anyone else you’ve ever known. It’s okay not to have all the answers. And never assume you’ve gotten him all figured out.